Outdated digital services make NHS vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

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A new report compiled by the researchers from Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation says that the National Health Services of the UK is vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The white paper which was presented at House of Lords on Tuesday says that security of patient data is being put to risk due to outdated digital systems, lack of expertise among the staff and lack of financial strength to invest in the better technology.

If hackers launch sophisticated attacks then healthcare practitioners could be blocked from accessing critical data of patients which includes blood groups, test results or X-ray reports and such.

Already the 2017’s WannaCry Ransomware attack showcased the world on how vulnerable were the digital assets owned and operated by hospitals connected to NHS.

These days everything related to healthcare is digital and this technology trend has shown its negative impact when the WannaCry malware hit the database of the hospital network in May 2017”, said Dr. Saira Ghafur, the lead author of the report where the team of the researcher was led by professor Ara Darzi.

A source from NHS has revealed that the health services provider made a deal with Microsoft to ensure systems are updated on a regular note and obsolete software is replaced by the new one. For this, an investment of 150 million pounds was also allotted by the house for the next 3 years to protect all key services of NHS from cyber attacks.

But she says that the funding is only enough to suffice over 23% of Information Technology needs of NHS on a present note.

The source who likes to stay anonymous said that in addition to securing hardware and software products, researchers called for a change in culture is needed among employees of NHS. They should learn to practice healthy cyber hygiene like not sharing passwords, not leaving PCs unlocked and being extra careful while handling email data.